In a quest for more vendor variety, Time Warner Cable has picked up the Pace,
accepting its first deliveries of the U.K. set-top maker's new digital box.
Pace Micro Technology Americas has gained final approval to start shipping
its '500' series box to Time Warner under a three-year, 750,000-unit deal forged
in late 1999.
The MSO had largely been using boxes from Scientific-Atlanta Inc., which,
along with Motorola Broadband Communications Sector, has held a virtual set-top
duopoly in the U.S. cable market.
Pace hopes to change that, according to Pace Americas president Neil
The MSO, in turn, is keen on expanding its vendor base, according to
spokesman Mike Luftman. Time Warner buys boxes from Pioneer New Media
Technologies, and it has some General Instrument Corp./Motorola Inc. units it
inherited through system swaps with AT&T Broadband.
'We think it is going to be a very high-quality box, and we are anxious to
have as many vendors as possible,' Luftman said.
Although it incorporates licensed S-A technology, the Pace 500 isn't simply a
clone, Gaydon said. Although it shares the same cable-modem design and PowerTV
Inc. operating system, the Pace 500 boasts a single-chip design based on
Broadcom Corp. '7100' silicon.
At 12-by-8-by-2.5 inches, Pace also claims its box is the world's smallest,
and it believes size will prove to be an advantage in the home and for
As with other 'thin-client' digital boxes, Pace's 500 entry has no middleware
component. It does sport a dual 80 MIPS (million instructions-per-second)
processor design. That affords an 80 MIPS capacity set-aside to run the box and
80 MIPS to run applications.